ArtQuest brings culture to kids

PLATTSBURGH - Since 2002, the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts has been enriching the lives of children through their ArtQuest program.

This year's program, which began July 12, will continue through to Aug. 13, featuring a different continent every week.

"We try to pick a diverse collection of projects for the curriculum so the students get a mix of art, music and dance from each culture," explained education coordinator Ali Della Bitta. "The number and length of time each project takes decides how many different cultures can be represented."

Della Bitta said she plans the curriculum by coming up with "inspiring" projects that can be focused around a theme.

"Art can express a lot about the way people live, the environment around them, and the traditions that surround them," she said. "This summer's six-week ArtQuest program is based on experiencing a different culture each week through its artwork."

The second week, from July 19-23, will focus on Europe, where children will "visit a different country each day." Week 3, from July 26-30, will have the children learning about Australia, creating their own didgeridoos and exploring the animals of the outback.

During the fourth week's session, from Aug. 2-6, children will explore North America, creating totem poles, dream catchers and sand paintings.

During week 5, from Aug. 9-13, the children will learn about Asia, making a pet dragon and origami. The final week, from Aug. 16-20, will focus on South America and children will create rainforest masks, rain sticks and maracas.

"Through the ArtQuest program, we hope students take away knowledge of art and its history," said Della Bitta, "but also the enjoyment of expression and creativity."

To sign up for a session of the ArtQuest program, contact NCCCA at 563-1604. Each session is $85 and are held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1 to 4 p.m. The program is for children age 6 to 14 and classes are limited to 15 per group.

"Wear your messy clothes or bring a smock," said Della Bitta, "and get ready to make some art and have fun."

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